Invited to interview by HBS? Here are the Harvard Business School interview questions from four different applicants.
The transcripts come from clients of Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com, who each year helps rehearse and prepare more than 100 invited candidates for mock interviews. In all likelihood, Kriesberg goes through more interviews with HBS applicants than anyone other than a few people on the HBS admissions team who actually conduct the 30-minute sessions.
His sample size—100+ out of 1,900 interviewed in a given year—gives him a unique look at who makes the cut and who doesn’t. His advice in the Harvard Business School interview How Not To Blow The Harvard Business School is essential viewing.
HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FROM FOUR CANDIDATES
The questions an MBA candidate receives at the Harvard Business School interview can vary widely, as each session is tailored to the specific candidate. At HBS, interviews last 30 minutes and are conducted by a member of the MBA admissions committee who has reviewed the applicant’s application. Usually, one receptionist asks the questions while another takes notes.
It is important to remember what HBS is looking for in a successful applicant, in an interview or an application that one submits to obtain an interview. There are three essentials that every candidate must possess according to HBS: a habit of leadership, analytical ability and appetite, and engaged community citizenship. All three should be subtly reflected in the interview answers.
The following are four recent examples from four very different candidates: a project manager, an analyst at an investment banking firm, an analyst at a private equity shop, and a US Army veteran.
PROJECT MANAGER INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
How has Covid affected your work and industry?
Do people work at home?
Do you work at home?
How was that?
What technologies do you use to keep up with remote colleagues?
Do you think some people adapt better to remote work?
Ok, let’s get rid of Covid.
What was the most exciting project you worked on this year?
What role did you play?
How did you grow up?
Looking back on this project, what would you do differently?
How do you deal with pushback?
Have you ever been criticized unfairly?
What did you say?
What do you think is the most valuable feedback you’ve received?
What were the circumstances?
What kind of leader do you aspire to be?
What will you find difficult at HBS besides managing your time?
What will be less difficult?
How do you think you will be different after your two years at HBS?
We receive applications from many highly qualified candidates in your industry –why should we let you in
INVESTMENT BANKER INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
How has COVID affected your business (lots of follow-up on my impact on deals, customers, colleagues, etc.)?
Tell me about your favorite deal, your hardest deal, and a deal that got away – and why?
How do you market yourself to investors?
What is your company’s “secret sauce”?
What types of investors are attracted to your company and why?
What was the biggest challenge in raising money?
Tell me about a time when you influenced someone else
As you think about the roles you’ve had—deal maker, working with your portfolio companies, team leader, and fundraiser—which have been the most difficult for you and why?
Would you ever want to run a company full-time?
How would your impact differ as an investor versus a CEO?
How did you learn about HBS?
What do you want me to ask you about?
PRIVATE EQUITY ANALYST INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Can you talk about the recent deal in your resume (Many additional questions)
What do you do in your current role?
I see you have worked in different offices and on different continents of your bank, what are some of the cultural and operational differences? Which office did you like best?
How would your supervisor describe you?
What constructive feedback have you received in the past?
What did you learn in JOB 2?
Tell me about your goals. Where do you want to work? What could you see yourself doing if these goals don’t materialize?
What will you get from an MBA?
What do you think about doing your exchange semester in D? 1
Can you tell us more about life in A and B?
Can you tell us about Extracurricular A?
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
MILITARY VET INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
What made you decide to join the military?
Tell me about the team you’re currently working with. Lots of follow-up – what is team culture, who is a “leader”, how do we make decisions,
Give me two words your teammates would use to describe you.
What constructive feedback have you received from your teammates?
What were the goals you set for yourself in the military?
When did you decide to pursue an MBA and why?
What are you interested in doing?
Which company would you like to work with and why?
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?